Monday, November 28, 2005

I got some .45 shells that'll boost your sales

Check the slight revamp of the sidebar, which will probably only be seen by readers that use Firefox. Notice that I say "readers" as if 75 percent of my page loads aren't me checking to see if my corrected typos are appearing.

Great archive of talented City Paper shutterbug Mike Regan here. The dude really knows his ironic juxtaposition, no? Next time you see me, please punch me out for using the word "shutterbug."

Me with a piece on the Dinosaur Musical. Read it and weep (at how bad I am).

My dude Schwartz has been contemplating a revamp of his Thinking East blog. Some of his ideas include starting up webcasts and/or Illvibe radio casts to offer more content to readers. His (thinking) partner also recently introduced neweurasia, a blog centering on Central Asian issues. In an e-mail exchange, I brought up the fact that although "casts" (no Hindu) are super-hot right now, I'm still a strong proponent of the written word and how I feel that it is superior to broadcast media. Some good points from Schwartz's "professional peception" POV:

Ironically, Blogs are still extremely dependent upon the old Press, in the West and the East. Blogs are constantly *linking* to the news-services; why aren't the news-services linking to us? Is it just the Press' elitism or parochialism, is it that we haven't given the news-services--and the public--anything truly juicy to sink their teeth into?

In the West, the Blogs' great journalistic success--the moment when they produced content, and of an explosive nature--was exposing Jeff Gannon, the president's mole in the White House press corps. Shortly thereafter, there was a big ruckus about Blogs, even cyber-attacks and legislation against them, and then---nothing. For the most part, it seems to me Blogs are still analyzing and critiquing. As I see it, this is the Blogs' greatest obstacle to true journalistic power...

Blogs definitely have some influence within the fourth estate, but I agree with Schwartz in this respect. My basic view is that while blogs can often shake shit up and provide answers (whether it's the Gannon issue, or Matt Drudge, whose shit I consider a precursory form of journalistic blogging), they're still driven by individualized views. While this might hamper the blog generation's true power to administer change, I don't think that the opinion-driven nature of most blogs is a bad thing. Isn't that the purpose they serve in the first place? Blogs can and should exist independently from the print media; while the presence of bias and opinion might undermine credibility, it's still extremely important that we have the means to put our thoughts out there in the first place.

It's been a good couple of weeks for me in terms of renting movies. I've caught some great ones lately, most notably The Devil's Backbone, Lords of Dogtown and Layer Cake. Some quick thoughts about each film:

- Backbone is fucking amazing. Before I knew anything about del Toro, I found it hard to believe that the director of Hellboy could create such a moving piece of cinema. Dude combines themes of civil unrest during the Spanish Civil War with elements of horror and coming-of-age films. It's rare that I decide to buy a movie on DVD immediately after I catch it, but this is at the top of the list. Go rent/buy this shit.

- I thought Dogtown was going to be lame, but I was pleasantly surprised. Great performances from Emile Hirsch and Heath Ledger, who are usually just relegated to boytoy mags and shit. Written by Stacy Peralta too, the OG. I'm no skate historian, but I liked how the rise and fall of the early stars was depicted. Also, here's an IMDB review that directly refutes everything I just said (although I do agree that Emile's depiction of a Latino gangbanger was a bit of a stretch).

- Layer Cake was confusing and convoluted as shit, as are many English caper/gangster flicks (What up, Guy?). Still, the twists, turns and surprises are dope, and I've been a fan of the dude Daniel Craig for awhile now. Michelle also has taken quite a shine to him, which will inevitably lead to him getting punched in the face next time I see him breathe, breathe...I think he'll surprise people when his Bond flick comes out.

I was itching for something to do the other night so I decided to try signing up for AdSense, that evil Google-driven shit that places targeted links on your blog. I progressed pretty far in the sign-up process until I got to a screen asking for my social security number. Are you serious? The day I type my social security number into the Internet is the day that this happens.

Quick links:

Crazy story about what happened to Einstein's brain.

Some great comments on The Roots (and a somewehat scathing PF review) over with Emynd. Also from over there: this beautiful animated gif of Shockey celebrating a field goal too soon. Ha!

Wholinkstome.com is not going to cure my obsession with Googling myself, but it's a good first step.

According to this story, all that shit we've thought about tryptophan in turkey causing post Xgiving passouts is bunk. I don't about that. I still passed out hardcore for awhile.

Site takes a sentence you write and plays it back to you with different song samples for each word. Try "I'm trying to fuck the bitches, but the bitches won't fuck me." I think I heard UB40 and Grease in there. Amazing!

There's a town in Austria called "Fucking"? I knew it.

Rest in peace, Pat Morita.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Connecting like a roundhouse from the townhouse to the tenements


Happy Thanksgi--what do you mean wrong pilgrims? Racist.


Happy Thanksgayving? Note to self: grow up.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Talib Kweli review on OKP. My basic thing: Kweli's stuck somewhere between mainstream and underground, which basically means that he gets hated on by misguided "purists" and ignored by the ultra-mainstream audience at the same time. Hip-hop purgatory probably sucks. Album had some good shit on it, but I bet it's tough to come out with something that'll appeal to the Black Star faithful and white girls Beautiful Struggle fans at the same time. Dude is too good for one camp and not good enough for the other. Regardless, I think record is worth a listen. Get it at The Smoking Section (scroll it).

Story about how search engines have recently become important to Internet users. Apparently, the "search-using population" makes up 90 percent of people online. It's funny, because I recently discovered some great search engines--I think they're called Yahoo! and Google. Apparently, you just type the address into the bar at the top of your "browser" and they pop up, and you can find pretty much anything you're looking for. These search engines are pretty useful: they helped me discover that this guy was gay (don't spread that around though, I don't want to compromise dude's reputation as a ladies' man). So many revelations this week.

For better or for worse worse, I've been watching a crapload of the Nick GAS network recently. I've become reacquainted with some of my old favorites, most notably Legends of the Hidden Temple, Guts, Get The Picture and Finders Keepers, a program that was buried in my archival subconscious along with recessed memories such as my sixth grade locker combo and the current location of my car keys. Shoutout to Mike O'Malley, who rides with the Wiggles. I realize that waxing nostalgic about Nick shows is incredibly hackneyed--it basically involves attaching some significant meaning to memories that pretty much every possesses ("Dude, remember 9/11?"). Regardless, Gerard was able to find a site that offers all the Hidden Temple t-shirts. I smell large-scale Halloween costume project/excuse to wear wristguards. Dibs on Green Monkeys, bitches.

This winter, I'm going to start writing up high school basketball for the Chestnut Hill Local. It's weird, basketball is my favorite sport (I'm not going to do it, don't worry), but I've never formally written about it. The only sports I've done for real real are baseball and rugby (random). Needless to say, I'm excited about it. Expect many references to assist-to-turnover ratio and maybe some forced allusions to my dude. Just kidding. Good read: story on former Lasallian/Heatie and current Hornet Rasual Butler. I like the homecoming angle on this, although I don't agree that many NBAers try to "downplay" a return to their hometown. Maybe some do, but I feel like a lot of the biggest dudes show a lot of love to their roots. Sheed's all about it, and I'm liking the "B More" 'Melo ad I caught the other day. What the hell was Jim Boeheim doing on Myrtle Ave., though? Get outta there, Coach!

The Terps hung with the Zags for awhile the other night. How do you stop this Adam Morrison character? Jesus. Dude looks like a bit of an oaf but is seriously deadly. I saw him play a bit last year, but this year he seems even crazier. I couldn't believe it (43 against the Spartans, AND he's diabetic?). Also, how exactly does Gonzaga consistently attract good white guys? I know there's plenty of talented blancos out there, but Zags seem to crank 'em out like BYU cranks out Mormons. Maybe it's because it's up in Washington state. Who knows. Anyway, my quasi-dudes Strawberry and Gist are looking (somewhat) ready for the season.

Overheard in NY, the grand inspiration for the Collegian's humble "Out of Context" column.

Couldn't fall asleep the other night so I decided to archive all the written work on my harddrive as .zip files then e-mail it to myself. No real pressing reason to do this, but it's nice to know it's all there in case my computer dies unexpectedly. I know I say this about as often as I say that Quantum Leap is a good show (read: daily), but Gmail seriously changed my life. Feel free to ask if you want an invite/want permission to ring the "nerd alert" bell.

Another thing I did in my non-sleeping state: register at Blogshares. But why? I don't understand it at all. I will be the first to tell you that I don't know anything about the stock market, and using links as currency really isn't stepping up my knowledge game very much. I think I have 500 shares of Trapper Juan--I think that's good, but should I have more? Also, I got a random e-mail saying some other guy gave me a "gift" of 10000 shares of some other blog. Is that good? Should I sell it, or should I keep it for my "portfolio"? Do I have to check this shit all the time to see if prices are changing or something? What am I getting myself into? The fuck?! I'm a complete idiot. If someone with a rudimentary understanding of economics can break this down for me, I would appreciate it.

Another ridiculous thing I signed up for. I fell asleep with my iTunes on random shuffle the other night and it logged a shitload of random stuff on my playlist. Now, I can share my terrible musical tastes with the world you're lucky Men Without Hats only appears once.

Free Darko t-shirts? That's what's up.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I am on a you train and I am lovin' it


Worst part? That cellphone has more
features than mine does. (
thanks)

I caught this mock funeral for TO on the news the other day. Very funny and very Philly, but I found one detail not mentioned in that article to be slightly ridiculous. On the newscast they mentioned that they were donating all their TO jerseys to homeless people in the city. Michelle pointed out two major flaws with this:

1) that an NFL jersey is not going to keep a homeless person warm whatsoever;
2) a homeless dude wearing an Owens jersey in Philly is probably going to catch even more harrassment than he already does.

Shit sucks. Reminds me of the
Seinfeld when Elaine wants to donate the muffin bottoms to food banks but no one wants them. I don't like how they attached some faux social justice shit to this event, like they were really helping people by giving these jerseys to the less fortunate. If they really wanted to do that, they could've just trashed all the jerseys and gotten small donations from everyone who participated. Whoever organized this just forced the "help the homeless" angle to get sympathy claps or something. Bullshit.

Check
Pound for Pound. Good blog, and dude shares my immense pain with the Arrested Development saga. Damn shame.

Yo, I'm working on this piece for
City Paper about spicy food. Like, really, really, really spicy food. I need to come up with a top five list of the spiciest dishes in and around Philly. If you know of something that might qualify, please don't hesitate to let me know.

In the market for gifts that say
"without you, my life is incomplete"? You is, and I knows it.

I had a load of work to do the other night, so took the best possible approach to getting it done: watching 50 Cent "Life & Rhymes" on MTV. Yes, I watched it. Yes, it was wildly entertaining. One thing struck me as weird, however: your boy M-A-dollar sign-E came out for 50's performance of "Window Shopper" and acted as consummate hype man. There was no "Give it up for my boy Mase..." or "Introducing the man who wears t-shirts with his own face on them" or anything like that. Dude just ran out, sing-songed through the chorus while doing that weird dance and ran off the stage. 50 didn't even shake hands or acknowledge when he came onstage or when he ran off. I know Mase has been
fucking with G-Unit since the summer, but looks like he's been seriously demoted in relevance. Poor guy.

Rob Swift review
right here. Shit still sounds pretty good. I've got a slew of pieces coming with OKP, namely Fort Minor (agh!), Skateboard P's latest, Biggie collab thing and dude named Sonny Boy who apparently used to eff with The Symbol.

Todd Williams pulls a Sidney Ponson. Assholes.

Thanks for
E for the Bunny Suicides re-link and the official Borat site. Best shit ever. I recently found out that Ali G Borat Bruno Sacha Baron Cohen is engaged to the crazy nympho chick from Wedding Crashers. What a couple.

Trapper Juan on a
ferret website. YES!

Finnegan introduced me to Pandora, a streaming radio station-type deal that matches up the music you like with other artists based on all sorts of complicated music genomes that I don't understand. Shit is dope though, and free to boot.

Collegian
news editor Tracey is doing big things as marketing/advertising director over at the brand-new SUAVV Magazine. Debut issue features an interview with Voletta Wallace. Go 'head, Tracey!

Brandon Bird equals best artist ever. It would be too difficult to explain what he does, so just look at this, this and this. Beautiful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The entire cashew/raisin ratio is askew



I've been watching Curb Your Enthusiasm season four on DVD non-stop for the past few days, and the shit is amazing. A friend of mine once told me that Larry David is the only television character he can truly identify with. I found this to be humorous to an extent, and slightly disturbing, as dude gets in fights about the most trivial shit ever (this, of course, is precisely what makes the show so brilliant). It got me wondering if LD is truly like the asshole character he portrays on Curb. I really hope he is. One time, we watched a Curb clip in one of my classes, and someone who didn't know that LD was the writer/creator of Seinfeld commented that it reminded them of the show's humor. Some other kid felt the need to raise his hand and condescendingly inform the other dude of this fact. I couldn't help but think that both of these people kinda sucked- the first dude for not knowing that LD was the Seinfeld archduke, and the other dude for thinking that knowing this made him special. Come on, kids.

Shit, so I rescind my dumb
Jumanji comment from the other day. Michelle informed my uninformed ass that Chris Van Allsburg (check that picture!) actually wrote Zathura as a sequel of sorts to Jumanji. Sorry if I offended any Van Allsburg fans. Regardless of that, it seems to me that most film adaptations of this dude's work tend to be poorly received.

Programming language inventor or serial killer?

Archive of the amazing Ali G NBA spots. The best shit is the Steve Nash MP3 clip. Speaking of SBC, E with some thoughts on this article. I can't really speak for Kazakhstan (shit, I didn't know it was the world's ninth-largest country), but I feel like they may need to lighten up a little. I mean, how many ridiculous stereotypes of Americans are out there? Europeans love that shit, mostly because they're all true don't they? Whatever. Borat is still amazing regardless of how much Kazakhstani ire he catches.

18-year-old kid
wins mayoral race in a Michigan town by two votes. So gully.

I don't delve too much into
Skillz, but dude's freestyle (YSI) is insane. Not sure when this is from...he gets really nostalgic with the braggadocio towards the end. Fat Man Scoop and I like it. We both scream for ice cream, too. Oh, and just in case if you're in dire need of FMS wallpaper...I know you are. Just admit it.

I haven't been to
Grouphug in a minute, but I'm glad I started going back. I'm consistently amazed by how much this shit varies. For example, here are two confessions located on the same page:

"As a freshman in college, I had to read The Republic by Plato. Honest, I tried. It sucked. I bought the Cliffs notes, wrote my paper and got an A. I rock. That's my 'fess."

So innocent, and not even funny. But wait....

"It pisses me off the way society is forced to accommodate some perversions and detest others. Why is homosexuality allowed when incest or consensual pedophilia is not? Either sex is for procreation or it's not - but let's not be hypocrites."

WHOA! Slow down, you homophobic incestuous pederast, you. Weird. Yeah, for more bizarre confessions like this, please visit
Grouphug.

Talib's got a mix coming out on
Crotch Koch on Nov. 22, I believe. Peep here for some streams. "Fly That Knot" with the Doom guest spot is hot. Can I just say that I hate the word "Koch"? Conceptually, the label is dope since rappers can put out their shit indie-style (although its kinda annoying when certain rappers who will remain camoflaged boast about doing 'big numbers' on the shit). I'm just speaking in terms of the term "Koch" itself. Couldn't they come up with something catchier, or at least something less awkward-sounding? guess not, as CEO is a Koch. That's okay, I guess. He's vaguely European, and I'm into that. Also, chalk up the award for Angloest news report ever.

Do NOT play the
Age Project if you have important stuff to do. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Yesterday, I wrote up the re-release of Rob Swift's
Soulful Fruit, which came out in '97 I believe. Should be up on OKP sometime. Anyway, the album still sounds good after a bunch of years. It's not like it's the most innovative shit in the world, but if you compare it to some of his contemporaries as well as some of the dudes today, it definitely holds it own. YSI is currently down, but I plan on sharing some tracks here sometime soon. Love the Bruce Lee cuts on this record.

Shoals compares the
NFL and NBA over at Free Darko. Interesting post.

The dude Perpetua over at
Fluxblog doesn't post hip-hop all that often, but he came with a Wu-Tang (specifically Meth) mini-retrospective two good songs yesterday. I commented that I have always loved dude's verse on "NYC Everything," and Bobby's as well (he draws a touching parallel between womanly excretions and apple cider, which I can really relate to). Good looks.

"Drink a bottle a day and become a
hero of Socialist flavour!"

Dude on some
real-life Van Wilder shit. I guess this is slightly amusing, but dude needs to get a life. Come on, man. It's more sad than anything else.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Allergic to wintertime

Not much time to update today, but I'll come with one early this week too.

Last night, I went to this for a CP article. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about attending because I had absolutely no exposure to the transgendered community prior to this. Everyone I met was extremely friendly, accomodating and very receptive to the questions I asked. Oh yeah, and Jeffrey Marsh performed (he's the impeccably dressed dude in the middle). He's the shit, seriously. Check him out.

I found that a lot of people were bringing up the same point: the more acceptance the gay/lesbian community gains, the more they tend to distance themselves from TG people. A lot of the girls I spoke to said that don't feel welcome at gay bars in the city, and people there don't even acknowledge that they exist. This might be due to fear or a lack of understanding, but the consensus I drew was that now that the gay/lesbian communities are less ostracized, many don't want to work to promote acceptance of TG people. That's why events like TG@L2 are important- they give these people a safe and fun venue to just be themselves and not have to worry about feeling uncomfortable. It's a great thing, and I have a lot of respect for the organizer. I also got pretty drunk. Good times.

I'm getting tired of rappers referencing how they get hurt by their jewelry (e.g. chain puts bruises on the back of their necks, their earlobes hurt as a result of all the ice, etc.). What a weird way to brag.

Pirates in the news. Thank God. It's been awhile.

La Salle kids: Go see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I watched it on Friday and shit was hilarious. Even if you don't like theater, it's a great opportunity to see Collegian Philly File editor Anthony Chwastyk sing and dance, which is pretty great by itself. Even better? Gwen's totally in it, and Lou does sweet live sound effects.

My roomie Taylor insists that when I get older, I will look exactly like Argentinian futbol legend Diego Maradona. I don't really see it, honestly. Diego's been in the news lately though, throwing down on some "I heart Castro" shit. The dude seriously loves him. Strange.

Book looks like it's worth checking out.

A-Sides doing Soul Survivors as a part of this compilation. I appreciate the inclusion of Hall & Oates on there. They're definitely the biggest-selling Philly artists of all time, but they usually get no daps. Oates is creepy, though. Maybe that's why.

Bmore (home of The Wire!) needs an extreme makeover, like now. They hired a company for $500k to assess why my home city has such a negative reputation, and this is what they came up with: "The perception of Baltimore is The Wire, The Corner, Homicide: Life on the Street...a hopeless, depressed, unemployed, crack-addicted city." Good job, guys. My fucking sister could've told you that for free. One of my section's writers is doing an article about this very topic this week (from Bmore too) so I'm looking forward to that.

CHL article on the insane community meeting I went to last week.

It's Lil' Poison, the world's youngest professional video game player. Where are this kid's parents? Go play catch, eat dirt or pull some pigtails or something.

I got OKP reviews of the new Talib Kweli and the new Rob Swift (Xecutioners) coming up soon. I may or may not post some tracks up here.

You know how Alfre Woodard's character on Desperate Housewives has her retarded son locked up in the basement of her house? Yeah, dude got fired. It's a damn shame. He really flexed his acting muscle in that one scene where he tackled Alfre, or in that other scene where you saw his hand drinking a glass of water. A true thespian indeed.

Got an assignment from the PR department to write up this musician/alum. I checked his website and it sounds quite good. Here's the MySpace and a CP article by the infamous AD Amorosi, who was recently heralded by PW for saying that Neil Diamond is cooler than Mick Jagger. I agree. Turn on your heart light, Neil!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Picture this: it's Jumanji...in SPACE!


While this photo is infinitely disturbing, at least
this dude doesn't read you your traffic

Oh yeah, with the title, I'm talking about this here. Can't you just picture some smarmy exec "pitching" it with that line? I'm mad at Favreau right now. That's why I haven't updated in a minute.

AHH interview with Dreddy Krueger. The project sounds good- GZA and Rass Kass? Gyeah!

Seems like Nathan Rabin and I are never going to agree on anything. He claims that Cunninlynguists is a stupid name; I feel that not only is the moniker cheeky and appealing, but it really reflects well on the dudes for having the sheer gall to stick with it. If I can't say it in front of my mom, it's probably good. I feel as though Rabin just wets himself every time he comes across anything "conscious," an approach that most of us learned to look past sometime in middle school. An unrelated AV Club post that I loved.

Review of the new Papoose over at Nastack. He's also been talking about how he thinks Weezy has co-opted Jay-Z's flow. I listened to "Fireman" today and I could definitely catch some shades of it, what with the lackadaisical style and strangely structured wordplay. I know Wayne has always been a little lazy (in a good way) with the flow, but he always kept it New Orleans with the heavy accent and all that (e.g. "if there' s any beef, I come 'ron like Mercer..."). Flow on the latest sounds a bit different...I'm just not sure if I heard it because I was listening for it, or if the lift is actually there. Thoughts?

In the light of our country's natural disasters and immense political unrest, it's reassuring that someone finally took up this cause. Thank you, sir.

I've been reading kinda reading W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk and the dude kills it. I particularly enjoyed his criticism of Booker T. Washington's plan for freedmen and how it let the oppressors off the hook; while Washington suggested that black people should concentrate on winning the approval of the white South and strive for industrial education (trades), DuBois championed the importance of higher education and blasted Washington's plan for essentially upholding the same standards they had worked to abolish. A particularly beautiful passage:
After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,--a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,--an American, a Negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
Good article breaking down the highly-contested Chestnut Hill Local saga. Also, I didn't write this, but it's got my name on it. Weird.

Nick Norlen dropped me a link to what sounds like the best version of Sleepy Hollow ever. Goldblum and Butkis probably murder it. Lend me that tape, man.

That Brooklyn Copeland left me some link love with that Depardieu article from the other day. Dude, I would've left you a comment in thanks, but you got no comment capabilities. What gives? I'll fight you, Copeland.

A few City Paper pieces here and here. Come to the CP Choice party at the Troc this Thursday...open to the public from nine on, I believe, and there will be circus performers. Yes, circus performers, bitches.

I'm starting a new "column" (ha!) in the paper about Facebook groups. Gonna be a top five list every week, with the inaugural piece highlighting some my personal favorites, which include:

1. Carl Weathers/Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
2. SFTAS: Society for the Appreciation of Seal Seal

3. I've Been Eyed Up by La Salle Security In A Way That I Feel Was Beyond Just Protective
4. I Want Dean Stockwell to Mentor Me
5. Allan Wendell Can't Hold Me Down

While we're at it, read this regarding the La Salle rape acquittal and laugh. While I don't necessarily disagree with the verdict, there's no question the guys are complete scumbags. I mean, the dude addressed here (the other guy's from in/around my hometown) has a four-year-old daughter (that I hear the University buys diapers for). Plus, his PG game isn't even that great. I just don't understand how Cleaves (no Mateen) could ever consider showing his face around school again...it's obviously his decision, but I just think that would be awkward as hell. If I were him, I'd be signing a letter of intent at University of Guam or something.